Friday, 6 April 2012


We set out last Wednesday confident of wrapping up both Cutty Sark and Greenwich as we only had four more pubs to visit in these regions; 2 in Cutty Sark, 1 in Greenwich and due to their close proximity, 1 that fits into the radius of both stations.  This particular pub was The Auctioneer, and was actually the last pub of the evening.  We imagined before we even set out that we’d have plenty of time to get to each venue before closing, but due to us becoming engrossed in the Chelsea v Napoli game (4-1 AET, cracking game) by the time we approached our last destination we were only minutes away from the last bell being rung.  I say bell, but in fact it was just the sound of the barmaid screaming ‘can you start drinking up now please’ at frequent intervals. 

We began the evening though at the Lord Hood, a pub that will definitely contribute to an overall drop in ratings for Cutty Sark.  As we entered we were greeted by the sight of a noisy rabble of all ages bunched around the table nearest to us, and two bald men sitting at the bar not talking to each other.  The bar itself was placed in the middle of the room, with a food counter that looked as though it hadn’t been used in months (in fact the only visible way to us that you could attempt to avert your hunger here was in one of those jars where you put in 20p and twist the handle to receive 5 or 6 probably stale nuts that had been there for months without being changed) to the right of it and seating to the left.  The room looked quite rundown, and was cold in terms of both atmosphere and temperature.  The pub also came complete with one television, strategically placed in such a position on the wall that you cannot actually get a clear view of it if you choose to sit at any of the tables on offer.  Such was the negativity we felt here, that we even began to argue amongst ourselves over whether or not a particular picture mounted on the wall was any good or not (it wasn’t). 

Things became worse with the toilets.  Aside from generally being in quite a poor condition overall, the door to the cubicle was also so poorly mounted that it didn’t come anywhere near to matching the frame that it was attached to, and whilst in there I was greeted by a wandering women looking for the exit but instead finding herself interrupting my wee.  Redeeming features?  Well, it had a piano.  Glancing around to see if it were possible that anybody here could play it, we decided this to be unlikely as we overhead one guy excitedly telling his mate he’d probably only be about 19 years old now if he had been born on the 29th February.  Tindall took exception to this and wanted to explain to the middle aged fool that if that were the case then he’d have to actually be almost 80 by now, so it was at this point that we made the decision to leave and move on.

Lord Hood Ratings
Facilities – 2
Atmosphere – 2
Cost – 3.5
Entertainment – 3
Selection – 1.5

Our second pub of the evening was to be The Rose and Crown.  When we first entered, the pub was almost empty save for an old couple at the bar and another chap minding his own business in the far corner.  This didn’t stop the barman (a lovely German fellow who really grew on us as the evening progressed) from taking an eternity to serve us.  As we waited to order we couldn’t help but feel a little conscious of the ‘scowly chef’ who just stood at the doorway of his kitchen with his arms folded, looking like he hadn’t cooked anything in days.  First impressions then were not great.  However, things soon picked up as the German guy eventually got around to offering us drinks, pouring them slowly in a delightfully German way (he left a head on the pint so large that there was little room for much drinkable liquid in the glass below it), before charging us ‘7 and a half pounds please’ and returning us with ‘2 and a half pounds change thank you’.  A generally likeable chap whose bar skills were about as good as his English, but the attention he devoted to each customer was thoroughly commendable.  Indeed he proved this just moments later by spotting our determination to watch the Chelsea game and kindly offering to increase the volume of the TV for us.  On the flip side this did now mean we would be forced to listen to the skewed views and irritating voice of Andy Townsend for the remainder of the game.

Before long the pub began to fill out as a mixture of students and older people arrived, seeking sanctuary from the cold outside.  They were joined by a male and a female who sat at the table next to us and quickly became the sole attention of our night.  It was evident from watching these two that a) she had envisaged there being another person with them for the evening, b) he really wanted to sleep with her, and c) she was never going to sleep with him.  She was an attractive German girl who clearly felt it rude to just leave when he announced that he was sorry that his friend couldn’t make it that evening, and he was an annoying English guy that was punching above his weight but was determined not to go down without a fight.  He lost the first round though as she opted to pluck for a pint of water as her beverage of choice after he had himself ordered a beer.  Clearly, she didn’t intend on hanging around for long.  It could be argued that it was perhaps a little rude for us to eavesdrop on this man’s attempts to ‘woo’ a lady, but seeing as his approach was to keep shouting idiotic comments in a high pitched voice in our direction, I feel that that gives me the license to talk about him.  His main technique to impress was to frequently drop into conversation all of the things he had achieved so far, he spent a long time for example telling her how he had once run a marathon, ending his story with ‘and that was when I was 24’.  Perhaps he was taking her through the timeline of his life so far.  On the regular occasions that he would run out of things to say he’d just revert to looking up at the TV screen and trying to explain to the girl about the game in hand, despite him clearly not knowing all that much about football himself.  ‘I once went to the Chelsea stadium’ he proudly claimed at one point, the mere fact he neglected to mention the name of the stadium, confirming once and for all that he really didn’t have a clue what he was talking about.  It got worse though, as conversation between the two stuttered further and she was clearly failing to become drunk on her glass of water (and therefore less aware of the drivel he was talking), he inexplicably resorted to just making random comments about things he could see.  ‘Flags are boring’ was one of my personal favourites.  Now I’m not an expert with women but I do know never to bring up the excitability of flags as a way to impress.  Inevitably, she soon drew the evening to a close, and the pair of them walked off with him no doubt thinking he was making more impressive comments to her about himself when to her all he was really saying was ‘I’m a massive wanker’ over and over again.

This amusing episode didn’t detract from the fact that we had a pub to rate.  And despite as I previously mentioned there being an indifferent start, our opinions of The Rose and Crown quickly changed.  The facilities were of an extremely high standard, one of the cleanest pubs we’ve come across so far.  The selection on offer actually proved to be fantastic as well with a huge but affordable menu on offer, and despite his looks, ‘scowly chef’ was pulling out all the stops, serving food late into the evening as the pub became busier and busier.  We would have liked to have hung around for longer but by the time the Chelsea game eventually came to a close we had left ourselves less than an hour to visit the last two pubs.  So we left, and headed the short walk to The Morden Arms.

The Rose and Crown Ratings
Facilities – 4.5
Atmosphere – 4
Cost – 2 (at ‘7 and a half’) it was a bit pricey
Entertainment – 2
Selection – 4.5

The Morden Arms (and NOT the Modern Arms as I had mistakenly presumed) was a pleasant pub with a local feel to it.  Not the guarded local feel that accompanied Lord Hood, but instead a sense of everyone knowing each other and not judging each other for who they are kind of feel.  Quirky little signs such as ‘where the customer is always wrong’ occupied the walls.  This was a place that didn’t take itself too seriously.  Arriving late it was fairly quiet, but we were still welcomed by the local drunk who made some sort of incomprehensible comment to us (probably something along the lines of ‘you don’t have to be crazy to drink here… but it helps!) before announcing to everyone present that he was now leaving and staggered off into the night.  After ordering a pint we took a seat on one of the comfier looking than they actually were sofas and took in our surroundings whilst trying to come up with some intellectual way of describing this pub.  This proved frustratingly difficult though, so we eventually settled on it being ‘a bit different’ to any other pub we’ve been to.  Sure, this is a very basic analogy, but one we felt most closely described what we could see.  How else would you describe an open planned pub with dark red walls, two fireplaces with bookshelves over the top of them, countless amounts of mis-matching tables and chairs, two dogs (one of which may well have been a guest for the evening and was busy licking a customer’s face, and the other that spent the whole time that we were there continually doing laps of the floor), an internet portal, huge speakers in one corner to be accompanied by live acoustic bands most evenings and one overly large and uncharacteristic vase of flowers sitting atop one of the tables?  Exactly… it was all just a bit different, but this was no bad thing, The Morden Arms had a weird charm to it.

Morden Arms Ratings
Facilities – 4
Atmosphere – 3.5
Cost – 3.5
Entertainment – 3
Selection – 1.5

As stated earlier, we ended proceedings at The Auctioneer, the pub with the screaming barmaid.  We didn’t particularly enjoy our time here, but then it really only served as a stop off point for us, time only to quickly gulp down one more beer before heading home for the night.  Perhaps if we were a few years younger we’d appreciate this venue more, for The Auctioneer is primarily a student pub.  It comes complete with a pool table, overly loud music, a sticky floor and gives you the opportunity to ‘like’ us on Facebook.  It seemed we picked a good week to visit this pub as it will now be closing for the rest of the month for a refurb.  Quite ingeniously we decided, they were planning to auction off (very apt for a pub of this name) everything before replacing it with new furniture.  So if you’re on the lookout for a wobbly, beer and sweat soaked bar stool, The Auctioneer is the place to come!

The Auctioneer Ratings
Facilities – 2
Atmosphere – 2.5
Cost – 4
Entertainment – 4
Selection – 3.5